How do you know if you’re in a toxic relationship?
I find that a majority of the time it’s easy to identify toxic elements of a relationship or even a friendship from the outside. A lot of people like to think that once you know you’re in a toxic relationship that it is easy to get out of it, and it’s really not and the problem is that you have other people telling you one thing, while in your mind, there is one half that wants to agree-that maybe your friends are only saying these things to help you; and the other half wants to believe that the other person in the relationship/friendship is not what everyone says that they are-that they are different from what others say. So how do you make the decision between the two?
[personal story time] So, one of my first boyfriends-I guess he could be considered a boyfriend- had a reputation for being a playboy and all of my friends were very disapproving, and I was really into him-blind as a bat- and I thought that he was kind, smart, witty, all that; but I was soon disillusioned by the fact that my friends would continuously tell me “oh no, Celeste, I heard that he only dates girls for a month and then dumps them,” of course, I didn’t believe them and then the things that they said came true and I was regretful that I didn’t heed my friends’ advice. And, most people when they hear this story, they think, “well, don’t worry I won’t make the same mistake,” but its very easy to make the same mistake and there isn’t any shame in making mistakes because we all learn from our own experiences best. So my advice is, having an outside perspective in the form of friends is helpful, but ultimately it is up to you to make decisions that will benefit you the most.
Tips for getting into relationships?
Well, a lot of people say that being yourself is key to attracting others; I say that its mainly self-confidence that attracts people. But, in reality most people look for enhanced superficial qualities-basically how you look. And, it seems naïve to say that looks don’t matter because they do. Be the best version of you that you can achieve. Take care of yourself, first and foremost, be healthy. Find what you love and don’t let it go-hobbies like art or cooking-something. I find that a lot of people are attracted to raw beauty and that can be achieved by, again being the best you that you can be. Accept your insecurities-don’t like them? work to change. IF you can’t change what you don’t like, then self-love is the next option, learn to love yourself so that you aren’t dependent when you are in a relationship in the future. Ultimately, all of this, leads to self-confidence and that I feel is what draws people. You notice that it’s usually the beautiful people who are the popular kids-it’s because a majority of them have mastered confidence in themselves and their abilities.
[personal story time] My school’s yearbook has a section dedicated to the superlatives of the seniors and I technically won two categories (we are only allowed to pick one if we won): Best Dressed and Biggest Flirt. I was hoping to win the Best Dressed category when the survey came out. So, it was a shock that I had also won Biggest Flirt-so I asked around and turns out that the people who voted for me, voted for me because I was flirty with most people that I talked to, which didn’t make sense to me, because I don’t really recall doing so. And, after careful “interrogation” of my friends, I found that the way I talk to people can come off as flirty because I put on a front of self-confidence (not that they knew it was a half-formed mask). I mean, that friendly interactions can also be misconstrued as being flirty and so that was the whole premise behind that. So now, I’m more careful with how I talk to others because I don’t want to come off as looking for a relationship when I don’t want one.
Making friends is fun!
It is hard making friends, being the one to approach another first-not my idea of fun. I used to be an introvert throughout middle school and the first year of high school. I never approached new people, I always thought that people that I had been friends with for years would continue to do so-naïve of me. I never bothered to make friends beyond my core group unless someone approached me first, and it is something that I regret. It wasn’t until sophomore year that I knew that I couldn’t go on the same way-too much dependence on this group. So, bucked up the courage to make friends with those around me in my classes-whoever was at my table or in my group for a project-I made an effort to approach them first with an offer of friendship because I somehow knew that it wasn’t in my nature to not be sociable with people. I remember doing my best to fake confidence and cheerfully ask them how their day went or some random ice breaker questions-not because I desperately wanted more friends or whatnot, but because I knew that if I didn’t, I would regret it and I was right. I still do it even now, when I’m so busy with hanging out with friends, maintaining good contact with those I don’t see regularly. Because, friendships are important, not just socially, politically, but also mentally-friendships can encourage happiness and a sense of belonging.